Homeless man faces probation for burning Minnesota synagogue

Prosecutors said they will ask for probation for Matthew James Amiot, 36, a homeless man who pleaded guilty to burning down a Duluth, Minnesota, synagogue on Sept. 9, JTA reported.

Amiot could have faced up to three years in prison for the fire at 120-year-old Adas Israel Synagogue, but police said there was no evidence the fire was a bias or hate crime.

Amiot said he was taking shelter in an alcove between the synagogue and its sukkah when he used a lighter to set a fire. He said he tried to extinguish the fire by spitting on it, but walked away when that failed.

Damage to the property, which was declared a total loss, was $117,000 for

the building and at least $250,000 for religious items.

New Jersey attorney resigns after ‘Jew down’ controversy

Stuart Platt, an attorney under contract with the city of Trenton, New Jersey, resigned in the wake of a September executive session during which City Council President Kathy McBride used the term “Jew her down,” JTA reported.

Platt is relinquishing a $25,000 contract to be the city’s redevelopment attorney.

 “I am an American and I am a Jew. I am resigning because of the disgraceful and shameful anti-Semitic remarks that were in fact made by the Council president of the city of Trenton, Kathy McBride,” Platt wrote in his resignation letter. “The vitriolic and hateful anti-Semitic comments were exacerbated by Councilwoman Robin Vaughn, who defended McBride by saying that the word ‘Jew’ is a verb and then claiming not to know this is an anti-Semitic slur.”

McBride and Council members George Muschal and Vaughn — who both originally defended McBride — have since apologized. JN

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